Statistics Canada’s latest data shows food prices stabilizing as food inflation fell below the headline figure for the first time since October 2021.

On Tuesday, the data agency reported Canada’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) slowed to 2.8 per cent for February, marking the third consecutive month where inflation dipped below three per cent.

When looking solely at food, inflation fell to 2.4 per cent on a year-over-over basis, down from 3.4 per cent in January.

The data shows fresh fruit, processed meat and fish were cheaper in February than they were a year ago. With fruits coming in a 2.6 per cent cheaper.

Meanwhile, preserved fruit and fruit preparations were up four per cent, and cereal prices climbed 1.7 per cent.

Statistics Canada believes the slower price growth this year is partially due to a “base-year effect” as supply constraints and poor weather conditions from a year ago drove up prices at the time, but are not as much of an issue this year.

Grocery stores have faced criticism from shoppers over perceived profiteering from high levels of inflation, which prompted a federal inquiry and the formation of a grocery code of conduct.

With files from The Canadian Press